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Scientific paper


Participation "Big Style": First Experiences with the German Citizens’ Dialogue on Energy Technologies for the Future.

Julia Hahn

Entry type:
Scientific paper

Year of publication:

Degrowth Conference Venice 2012


From the text: The project “Bürgerdialoge“ (“citizens’ dialogues”) initiated by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research aims to incorporate the perspectives of citizens regarding future technologies. Germany’s highly discussed withdrawal from nuclear energy and the accompanied fundamental changes in energy production were subjects of eight regional dialogues (with about 100 participants each) which took place from July to November of 2011. Citizens were invited to discuss and develop approaches to solve pressing energy questions such as energy efficiency, renewable energy, energy grids and bridging technologies. In a first discussion-round the citizens’ concerns and expectations were documented and a second round was made up of developing approaches and possible polices for dealing with and solving the issues articulated. The goal of each regional dialogue was to put together a report which was given to a representative of the ministry. During a two day long summit concluding the regional dialogues, participants wrote a final summarizing report, which was officially passed on to the federal minister. The entire process was accompanied by an advisory board made up of representatives of research, science, the economy, civil society as well as participating citizens themselves. Additionally, an Internet platform offered the possibility of online participation. A first interpretative analysis of the dialogues shows several overarching topics. The decentralization of energy production was a central aspect of all dialogues and was seen as a possibility to strengthen regional participation of citizens and municipalities helping them become more independent from large energy companies and to develop local energy plans.

Contribution to the 3rd International Degrowth Conference for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity in Venice in 2012.

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